Bath Racecourse has the distinction of being the highest racecourse on which Flat racing is staged in Britain. It is situated at a height of 780 feet above sea level on Lansdown Hill, overlooking the City of Bath in the county of Somerset in southwest England. Regular racing first took place on Lansdown Hill in 1811 and for most of the 19th century Bath staged just a single, two-day meeting in May each year. The Somerset Stakes was first run in 1832 and, at the time, became a recognised trial for the Derby. Tudor Minstrel, ridden by Sir Gordon Richards, won the Somerset Stakes in 1947 en route to an 8-length win in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. Today, Bath Racecourse is part of the Arena Racing Company and stages 19 Flat racing fixtures between April and October, attracting 80,000 visitors each year.
For racegoers, Bath Racecourse offers a choice of three enclosures, known as the Premier Enclosure, the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure and the Centre Course Enclosure. However, the Centre Course Enclosure is only open for selected meetings. Admission prices range from £22 for the Premier Enclosure on evenings and weekends to £10 for the Centre Course Enclosure, when available. Admission is free for accompanied children in all enclosures.
For corporate events, including conferences, exhibitions, meetings and seminars, Bath Racecourse offers a variety of flexible indoor spaces capable of accommodating up to 500 people. In addition, the racecourse offers acres of outdoor space on grass and hard standing surfaces, suitable for larger business shows and trade fairs. The Centre Course area alone offers over 170,000 square feet of grassed space, including bar and toilet facilities. Unlimited free parking is available, so up to 10,000 people can be accommodated for public shows. A dedicated events team works with corporate customers to make sure that events, large and small, run without a hitch.
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What's unique about the course at Bath?
The round course at Bath is a left-handed, galloping oval, at little over a mile and a half around. The home straight is nearly four furlongs long, bends to the left and is on the rise all the way to the winning post. Races over five furlongs and five furlongs and 161 yards start on a chute that joins the round course at the top of the home straight.
Notable Races and Events
The most significant race on the Bath Racecourse calendar is the Listed Lansdown Fillies' Stakes, run over 5 furlongs in April and open to fillies aged three years and upwards. The Lansdown Fillies' Stakes is, in fact, the only Pattern race to be staged at Bath and in 2010 was won by Clive Cox's 4-year-old Gilt Edge Girl, who went on to taste Group 1 success in the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp later the same season.
Bath Racecourse celebrated its bicentenary in 2011 and, as part of the celebrations, wanted to make the Lansdown Fillies' Stakes the showpiece of its meeting on August 20. However, the application to do so was turned down by the British Horseracing Authority, so the racecourse executive instead resurrected the Somerset Stakes, which was first run in 1823, but hadn't been run since 1998, when it was won by subsequent Group 1 winner Lochangel.
The Somerset Stakes, run over 5 furlongs 161 yards, was won in 2011 by Andrew Balding's 3-year-old Desert Law, ridden by Jimmy Fortune. Andrew Balding won the Somerset Stakes again in 2012 with his 4-year-old Night Carnation, again ridden by Jimmy Fortune, who beat Regal Parade by three quarters of a length. Regal Parade went on to win the valuable Coral Sprint Trophy at York later in the season, while Night Carnation was beaten by just half a length in the Grade 1 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine on his only subsequent start. The reintroduction of the Somerset Stakes may effectively have been a happy accident, but the race seems certain to provide some useful sprinting clues for seasons to come.
Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers
In terms of the number of winners ridden, Chris Catlin is the leading jockey at Bath over the last five seasons with 22 winners from 179 rides, just ahead of David Probert with 21 winners from 159 rides. However, it's also worth noting that Richard Hannon's stable jockey Richard Hughes has ridden 20 winners from just 75 rides in the same period, at a strike rate of better than one in four, for a healthy level stakes profit of 31.25 points.
Jaber Abdullah is the leading owner with 12 winners from 29 runners during the last five seasons and Mick Channon is the leading trainer with 29 winners from 214 runners. Among the training ranks, Richard Hannon is clear second best with 27 winners from 135 runners and is the only one of the top five trainers at Bath in the last five seasons to record a level stakes profit.
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